Money is not necessarily the root of all evil, but for many, many couples, money is the cause of many arguments. Money problems are the biggest source of friction, stress and arguments for couples, according to a 2012 survey conducted for the American Institute of CPAs. The survey found the disagreements over money were the source of more conflicts that children, household chores, work, or friends. According to a 2009 study, “Bank on It, Thrifty Couples are the Happiest,” money arguments rank with infidelity and drug abuse as a primary reason for divorce.
Couples disagree over personal finances because the partners marry each other without understanding what has been called each other’s “money personalities.” Bethany and Scott Palmer, the authors of “Cents and Sensibility,” say that money augments between spouses happen because of conflicting attitudes and philosophies about money.
According to the Palmers, there are basic money personalities. They are:
- Debtor – someone comfortable using credit
- Flyer – someone who doesn’t concern himself or herself with finances
- Risk-taker – having an aggressive risk tolerance for growing wealth
- Security-Seeker – having a conservative risk tolerance
Spouses preparing for marriage should know each other’s money personality because “[c]onflicting attitudes about money set the stage for money disagreements that can sorely test any relationship or marriage.” Obviously, a contest of a spender versus saver, the contest of a grasshopper versus an ant, is “an epic ongoing battle.”
Money mistakes and missteps are easy to make and very common. Failure to make a budget, or write a will, or neglect of family finances (not balancing the checkbook, etc.) foreshadow conflict, if not immediately, then later.
You can learn more about the effect of the dollar on marriage and divorce here.